Written by: 
Cristian Pașka

One Step Closer to Erasmus+

One Step Closer to Erasmus+ was a project implemented between September 2021 and February 2022 by Erasmus Student Network (ESN) Romania and co-funded by the Erasmus Students and Alumni Alliance (ESAA) through a non-reimbursable financing of 6380 €. The aim of the project was to promote Erasmus+ mobility programmes and the European Solidarity Corps among young people in rural and small urban areas.


How did we set out to do this?

We organized a training event attended by 43 young people (network volunteers and international students). Originally planned for November, the event was rescheduled, amid restrictions imposed by authorities to limit the spread of Coronavirus, for January. The organizing team and the trainers proved to be extremely adaptable, always finding solutions to the problems that arose, successfully coping with the challenges. Between January 20th and 23rd, at Ibis Bucharest Politehnica Hotel, the young people selected to participate in this event had the opportunity to learn more about the mobility programs, and in the next period they had to organize sessions in schools in rural and small urban areas, thus becoming ambassadors of the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes.

The intercultural dimension of the event created a space for dialogue, facilitating the creation of bondings between participants from 14 countries, from 3 continents. The event was attended by young volunteers from ESN Romania and ESN Bulgaria, as well as international students from Somalia, Nigeria, Egypt, Yemen, Ghana, Turkmenistan, Palestine, Turkey, Italy, France and Greece hosted by Romanian universities.

The event was also an inclusive one, both from the perspective of the activities carried out, as well as the chosen location, allowing the participation of  a member of ESN Romania with disabilities that require constant support and a permanent companion.


How did it all go?

On the first day of the event, the participants had various activities through which they could get to know each other better. The next day had as objectives: to develop the participants' knowledge of the mobilities, the way to finance them and the connection with the European Union institutions, the organization of Erasmus-in-School activities, but also the introduction in non-formal education

This event represented a good opportunity for ESN Romania and ANPCDEFP to collaborate, therefore, two representatives of the departments of the Institution for Higher Education (Erasmus+) and the European Solidarity Corps participated on the first day of the event, providing information on the two programmes of interest in an interactive manner. At the end of the day, the participants learned how to promote the two programmes through storytelling of personal mobility experiences.

On the third day of training, the participants were divided into smaller groups and invited to a session on Intercultural Dialogue. They were asked to analyze the methods and activities carried out within the workshops for a better understanding of the non-formal methodology of education.  What followed took the participants out of their comfort zone. Thus, for the next part of the day, but also for Sunday, they were grouped in teams of three people each and were instructed to prepare a 40-45-minute workshop that would include two themes: intercultural dialogue and international mobility programmes. In the end, they proved their skills acquired during the training, successfully coping with the challenge they received. Asked how they would describe the experience of the  event in one word, they mentioned: "friendly", "educational", "fun", "wonderful", "well organized", "inspirational", " connection", "intercultural" etc.

Once back home, the 43 young people got to work and organized 14 sessions to promote mobility in schools in rural and small urban areas. A total of 535 students were motivated by personal stories to participate in a mobility, regardless of its type.